Rayman Raving Rabbids (cancelled prototype)
|Rayman Raving Rabbids
|Presumably late 2006 or early 2007 (cancelled)
|Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Windows, Sony PlayStation 2, Sony PlayStation Portable
Rayman Raving Rabbids was originally developed as a 3D platform game, under the working title Rayman 4. It was announced by Ubisoft on the 11th of April, 2006, shortly after the cancellation of Phoenix Studio's unrelated Rayman 4 project. Under development by Ubisoft Montpellier, the game was to be a free-roaming action platforming game, in which the player would control Rayman as he battled against an invading army of Rabbids. The game was announced for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, and the Nintendo Wii, which was then codenamed the 'Revolution'.
The game's story was intended to be simplistic, clichéd and ludicrous, in a parody of the storytelling devices that are standard in platform games. The goal was not a complex storyline, but a suitable framework for developing the characters and the situations. Michel Ancel said of the game, "It's a comedy, like Mars Attacks or some Monty Python movies. I'd like it to sound absurd and funny."
At the time of the original Rayman game, or perhaps earlier, the Glade of Dreams was inhabited by innocent and friendly rabbits. Because of their stupidity, the rabbits were shunned and bullied by the other creatures. Retreating underground, the rabbits grew bitter and hateful, ultimately becoming the insane and violent Rabbids. The game begins when, after decades or centuries of plotting and scheming, the Rabbids rise from the ground in huge numbers, armed with the gigantic war machines and flying crafts that they have constructed, and begin their vengeful takeover of the Glade.
The only one who can defeat the Rabbids and bring an end to their invasion is Rayman, the hero who has protected the Glade from evil many times before. Familiar characters from previous Rayman games appear, and find themselves in new situations, as the Rabbids intend to use them for 'strange purposes'.
During the game, Rayman meets and falls in love with a female member of his own species, Simohne. In order to defeat the Rabbids, Rayman is forced to join forces with André, the villainous Black Lum who orchestrated the Hoodlum invasion in Rayman 3. Other characters from Rayman 3 also appear. An early teaser shows Teensies fleeing from the Rabbid army. The leader of the Rabbids seems to be the obese and decadent Jabbit the Rabbid. He kidnaps and imprisons the baby Globoxes, Rayman's girlfriend Simohne, André, and André's own girlfriend Monik, and it is left to Rayman to rescue them all.
The game would have been a 3D platformer, similar to Rayman 2 and Rayman 3. A prominent feature was that it featured an open world, where the player could explore, roaming from one area to the next, as in Beyond Good & Evil. Rayman would have had to beat up the Rabbids in close-quarters combat, similarly to the slapping-based fighting in Rayman Origins; huge numbers of Rabbids could be on-screen at any given time.
Along the common Rabbids, a type of Rabbids called Zombie Rabbid was planned to appear in the game. They possess a denser fur and constant red eyes. Some had a different fur color or others were bigger or smaller. According to the prototype images, the Zombies Rabbids were planned to be recurring enemies in the game. When the game became a Party-Game, the Zombies Rabbids were removed from the consoles versions but one of Zombie Rabbid appears as an enemy in the Game Boy Advance version of Rayman Raving Rabbids.
In order to complete certain tasks, Rayman would have to hypnotise the Rabbids by dancing, taking control of them and manipulating them to access new areas of the game. The player would have to select a musical track and make Rayman dance to the rhythm accurately. Rayman could wear several different costumes, each based on a different musical style. However, the dancing was intended to be no more than a minigame, and would not have taken a central role in the gameplay.
Another major feature was the ability for Rayman to tame and ride dark creatures, such as gigantic spiders, sharks, birds and warthogs. Each creature had their own abilities; spiders could climb walls and ceilings, sharks could swim, birds could fly, and so on. These creatures would help Rayman to defeat the Rabbids and their machines.
A small group of developers at Ubisoft Montpellier began work on Rayman 4 while Peter Jackson's King Kong was under development. At the time, the developers had no clear enemy in mind for the game. When the Nintendo Power magazine expressed an interest in covering the new Rayman game, Michel Ancel quickly sketched a concept for a new rabbit enemy while riding a train from Montpellier to Paris. The game was being developed for the PlayStation 2, until the developers received Wii development kits from Nintendo. With these tools, the developers began to experiment with a wide variety of gameplay styles; as a result, the game's action and platforming elements were ultimately removed and replaced with minigames. The final game, Rayman Raving Rabbids, was almost unrecognisable compared to the original Rayman 4 concept.
Jabbit the Rabbid is an character who would have had a role in Rayman Raving Rabbids, had it been released as the platformer which it was originally conceived as. He appears to be a huge, slug-like Rabbid suffering from morbid obesity and he is probably a reference to Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars. He appears to enjoy watching Rayman beat the Rabbids, as shown in some concept art. Rayman's girlfriend Simohne is a character who would have had a role in Rayman Raving Rabbids. She appears to be a female member of Rayman's species, and is seen in several pieces of concept artwork as printed in a Nintendo Power article about the then-upcoming Rayman Raving Rabbids. According to Michel Ancel, "Rayman will have to save the world, his girlfriend and the girlfriend of his old enemy and his old enemy too!" Concept art shows that Simohne and the baby Globoxes have been captured by Jabbit. It was also confirmed that the 'old enemy' with whom Rayman would have to join forces was André, meaning that Rayman must also rescue André's girlfriend Monik.
Ubisoft's official 2006 press release on the game read as follows:
Rayman Raving Rabbids marks the return of Rayman, in his funniest and zaniest adventure ever. When his world is threatened by a devastating invasion of crazed, out-of-control bunnies, Rayman must rise up against these furry foes and foil their wicked plans. Using an array of amazing new abilities, and with the help of magical creatures, Rayman will need to break out all his best moves to save his world from these delirious bunnies and their hare-raising antics. “It’s a real pleasure for me to be back working on an all-new Rayman,” said Michel Ancel. “After wrapping up my last game, the team here in Montpellier sat down to talk about having some fun with Rayman and his universe. We are running into a bit of a problem, though, because our game has been invaded by thousands of raving mad and vicious bunnies, who have apparently been preparing this assault since the very first Rayman game. We are now sending an SOS to all motivated gamers to help us get rid of them as fast as possible!” Here are a list of features you'll find in the new game!
- Combat the Ultra-Crazed Evil Rabbits – Take control of Rayman and his knack for attack to help save his world from the raving rabbids. They are mischievous, insane and completely out of control. There are several types of rabbids each with its own mischievous characteristics.
- Master and Ride Creatures – Tame and control various creatures such as sharks, eagles, rhinos, spiders and angelfish. Rayman can master each animal’s unique capabilities to help in his battle against the devious rabbids.
- Dress to Impress – Customize and disguise Rayman. Go punk, pop, rock or hip hop to infiltrate the bunnies and foil their devious plans.
- Explore the Colorful Fantastic World of Rayman – Explore amazing free-roaming environments and beautiful epic landscapes that mix real and fantastical styles to create a visually stunning experience.
What follows is a collection of images released during the period when Rayman Raving Rabbids was still intended to be the fourth Rayman platformer, before it became a collection of minigames. Rayman can be seen riding several creatures and fighting very numerous, Zombies Rabbids who make use of advanced technology.
The Rabbids' ship.
The Rabbid army.
Bunnies Don't Milk Cows from the prototype.
The early look of the Rabbids.
Allegedly leaked screenshots
On January 3, 2022, two screenshots of what appears to be an early build of the game were published on Twitter. While no source was given and their authenticity remains to be established, they show clear similarities with previously released screenshots.
On December 24, 2022, a playable prototype of the game was made available for download, complete with the source code and a level editor. It contains a number of maps, playable in any order, ranging from relatively polished and functional levels to test maps missing textures and collisions.
In this prototype, Rayman can jump and perform rolls. He is also able to change costumes, though this mechanic must be patched to function correctly in the leaked build.
In combat, most of the action takes place at close range, in contrast to the previous games in the series. When prompted to attack, Rayman alternates between various punches, kicks and strikes.
Rayman can also perform a ground pound, which costs him 5 mana points (out of 100). Mana is replenished by either performing a finisher on an enemy, destroying the bomb of a Rabbid robot, or collecting a mana mushroom. Ground pounds can also be used to break into vents.
A new grappling mechanic is present, which allows Rayman to grab objects from afar with a chain and swing them around. This can be used to throw them at enemies, but also to solve puzzles by moving a crate or turning a lever, or to swing around the area.
Additionally, Rayman can pick up the weapons of the enemies he has defeated and use them against their own kind. Weapons include carrot guns, grenades, and even melee weapons.
When Rayman is in sight, Rabbids try to surround him and land a hit on him, except for the ones armed with ranged weapons, who will shoot at him from a distance (though carrot guns do not function correctly in the leaked build as they do not deal damage to Rayman).
Some Rabbids are able to dodge projectiles from the carrot gun, while others equipped with a shield can even block them. Rabbids can mount the same creatures and objects as Rayman, and come in various sizes and shapes, with the larger ones dropping a Lum when defeated.
There are also Rabbids with a glowing light on them, indicating that they can be made to dance. Depending on the costume Rayman is wearing, a different music will play, and a rhythm game will begin, where the player has to press certain buttons to fill a juice bar. When it is done, the Rabbid will stay in place and dance for some time, and eventually become aggressive again.
Due to the early nature of the prototype, some Rabbids cannot be defeated, but others can, after which they will burrow into the ground and will not respawn.
When Rayman loses health, his appearance changes to wearing nothing but a fig leaf, looking just like Rayomz in the UbiArt games. Upon losing all his health, Rayman will fall but get back up, as no game over functionality appears to be programmed in this prototype.
A first-person view mode is also available.
Rayman can mount a large variety of creatures and objects and ride them around the open areas of the game. Living mounts include a warthog, a spider, an eagle, a ceratopsian dinosaur, a shark, a centipede and a strange creature called a “hypogriffe”. Notably, spiders can crawl across walls, eagles can fly, and sharks swim through the water. Objects that can be mounted include Rabbid vehicles such as a flying saucer and a spider robot. Some Rabbids can also be mounted and used to attack other Rabbids.
Roméo Patti also appears in the game, often floating by Rayman, though he is meant to be a placeholder for the fairy Monik. When Rayman touches him, Roméo starts riding on Rayman's back, and a circular dotted meter appears and slowly disappears one dot at a time. Once the meter fully disappears, the level restarts.
During the development of Rayman Origins, Michel Ancel confirmed in an interview that a new 3D Rayman platform game was planned. In another interview which took place in December 2011, Ancel reiterated this, and hinted that the new game may be based on the Rayman 4 prototype that was canceled in 2006. It is not clear whether the game will still feature the Rabbids, despite the lengths the developers have gone to in order to separate the two series, or if the game will be reworked to feature different enemies. As of 2019, Michel Ancel is currently working on two other games, Wild and Beyond Good and Evil 2, making it unlikely that anything will come from this prototype anytime soon. However, on October 12, 2017, Ancel posted on his Instagram account that he is very interested in making the 'fourth' Rayman adventure, suggesting of a future revival of the prototype or the then-planned original fourth game that was cancelled. In september of 2020, Ancel announced his retirement from the gaming industry, making this revival from him unlikely to ever happen. However, he added that he believed a different team would be able to make the game without his involvement, as happened with Rayman 3.
- Blogpost of François Roughol about the prototype and the final game
- Rayman 4 teaser trailer
- Rayman 4 trailer
- Rayman 4 gameplay trailer
- Mini trailer
- Mini trailer presented during the E3 2006
- Overview of the stand Rayman Raving Rabbids in E3 2006 (in 2:07)
- Unused minigames
- Early title screen
- Unused animations
- Scrapped mechanics from the prototype
- Strategy Informer, Rayman: Raving Rabbids: Interview, http://www.strategyinformer.com/ps3/raymanravingrabbids/interview.html
- Name from the files of Rayman Raving Rabbids (Rayman_Lapin_Zombie.wol)
- Gamesutra, The Evolutionary Process Of Building Rayman Origins, http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6562/the_evolutionary_process_of_.php
- Rayman Pirate-Community discussion forums, Interview of Michel Ancel: the fans ask the questions!, https://raymanpc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7299&p=642095#p642095
- Instagram, @michelancel, https://www.instagram.com/p/BaI0eAwAEPb/, « Yesterday , I met Rayman for real , in a second-hand store . Far from his time of glory , looking ahead for some help . Pathetic 😔 After Wild , after BGE2 , we ´ll need to bring him back again ... for his fourth adventure ! 😁😁😁 Don't let heroes die 🤘 #rayman #ubisoft »
- Instagram, @michelancel, https://www.instagram.com/p/CFRbPpnqCxu/, « WoW ! This little guy has many things to teach to Sam Fisher ! Today is very special for me. After more than 30 years, I’ve decided to stop working on video games and fully focus on my second passion : Wild Life ! My new project takes place in the real world and consists in a wild life open sanctuary dedicated to education , nature lovers and ... wild animals. 🎮🎮🎮 video games part 🎮🎮🎮 Many of you might want to know what will happen to Wild and BGE2. No worries, since many months now the teams are autonomous and the projects are going super well. Beautiful things to be seen soon. May the fox be with you 🦊 »
- Instagram, @michelancel, https://www.instagram.com/p/CFRbPpnqCxu/c/17877371362831133/r/17908248865507394/, « Rayman 3 was made without me by a very talented team. I believe they are the perfect candidates for making number 4 possible ! »
|Raving Rabbids (cancelled prototype) • Raving Rabbids • Raving Rabbids 2 • TV Party
|Party Collection • Rabbids Go Home • Lab • Travel in Time • Alive & Kicking • Land • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle • Rabbids: Party of Legends • Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
|Raving Rabbids (GBA) • Raving Rabbids (DS) • Raving Rabbids (mobile phone) • Raving Rabbids 2 • TV Party • Rayman and Rabbids Family Pack
|Rabbids Go Home (DS) • Rabbids Go Phone • Rabbids Go Phone Again • Travel in Time 3D • Rabbids Rumble • Rabbids Big Bang • Rabbids Heroes (discontinued) • Rabbids Crazy Rush • Rabbids Smart Brush • Virtual Rabbids The Big Plan
|Rayman Kart • Rayman Adventures
|Attack of the Killer Rabbids From Outer Space (cancelled) • Invasion (Facebook, discontinued) • Rabbids Invasion (TV series) • Appisodes • Invasion: The Interactive TV Show • Untitled film • Rabbids Coding